~ Mel's Creamy-Crunchy Seriously-Good Coleslaw ~
It is amazing to me how many people say they don't like coleslaw, then admit they've never tried it because they don't like cabbage or anything made with cabbage. Seriously? I am at a loss for any understanding of this mindset. I grew up loving my grandmother's pepper-slaw, my mother's stuffed cabbage rolls, my dad's ham and cabbage, and, sauerkraut. Whenever someone says "no thank you" to coleslaw, for some reason, I find it hard to resist the urge to change their mind. In the instances when I can successfully coerce someone into trying my slaw, the reaction to my recipe has more than once been, "this is seriously good", hence the name of this recipe.
I grew up eating colseslaw at all sorts of picnics, barbecues and outdoor gatherings but my fondest memory of this side-dish is, and remains, our trips through the Carolinas. If you say "coleslaw", I say, "pulled-pork" and there is nowhere better to eat this 'wich-'n-'slaw combo than in those states. I'm making 'slaw today because I'm serving ~ My Carolina-Style Pulled-Pork Sandwiches ~ for our 4th of July celebration. Simply click on the Related Article link below to get my special recipe.
A bit about coleslaw: The words "cole" "slaw" come from the Dutch word "koolsla", meaning: "cold" "salad". Coleslaw is a salad of shredded red or white cabbage that gets mixed with other vegetables (onion, carrot and bell pepper being most common) then tossed with a mayonnaise, vinaigrette or other type of dressing. Some versions contain bacon, pickles and/or seasonal herbs. It is safe to say there are as many versions as their are cooks. One of my favorites contains shredded fennel and chopped apples, pears and bacon.
The key to a great homemade coleslaw is to make sure your vegetables are "dry", meaning: dry of as much moisture as possible before combining them with the dressing mixture. My grandmother taught me to shred my cabbage, chop my vegetables, then, wrap them individually in a kitchen towel and refrigerate them overnight prior to proceeding to mix the slaw. The day I started using the store-bought, pre-washed, dried and shredded slaw mix, instead of shredding my own cabbage, I never looked back. They get their cabbage super-dry. If my grandmother had this available she would have used it too.
1 1/2 pound, store-bought, bagged, coleslaw mix, the best available
1/2 pounce store-bought, bagged, shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups diced yellow or red onion
3/4 cup diced green bell pepper
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
For the creamy dressing:
2 cups mayonnaise, chilled
1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 1/2 teaspoon dry English mustard
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper sauce, more or less, to taste
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Jane's Original Krazy Mixed-Up Salt, or sea salt
freshly-ground black pepper or peppercorn blend, to taste and for garnish
~ Step 1. Prep the onion, green bell pepper and red bell pepper as directed. Place each one on 2-3 layers of paper towels as you work. Allow the towels to absorb moisture for about 10-15 minutes. Gather the paper towels up around the vegetables and give everthing one final and firm pat dry.
Note: This step is what is going to make your slaw really crunchy.
~ Step 3. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, pickle relish, celery seed, pepper sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Add dressing to veggies and combine. Cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight, stirring occasionally, when convenient.
Special Equipment List: cutting board; chef's knife; paper towels; salad servers; plastic wrap
Cook's Note: Need another side-dish for your 4th of July celebration? Try my ~ 4th of July Yankee Doodle Dandy Macaroni Salad ~. It goes great with hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and/or ribs! You can find the recipe in Categories 4, 10, 11 or 14.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)